Saturday, May 21, 2011

Georgia: Big Demos Planned to Seek Georgia Regime Change

SOURCE Democratic Movement - United Georgia party and the Public Assembly

A massive public demonstration tomorrow (Saturday 21 May) to demand political, social and economic reform in Georgia is set to attract up to 100,000 protestors in the capital Tbilisi, according to Nino Burjanadze, the country's main opposition leader. A simultaneous rally is also planned in the city of Batumi in southwest Georgia.

Nino Burjanadze of the Democratic Movement - United Georgia party and the Public Assembly, a group of political parties, have both called for peaceful marches against Georgia's incumbent regime led by President Mikheil Saakashvilli in a bid to lead to early elections in the former Soviet state.

Mrs Burjanadze said: "Unemployment, corruption, selective justice and the loss of the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have all spiralled out of control under President Saakashvilli's hopeless leadership and the Georgian people have suffered for too long. But enough is enough. The people of Georgia will take to the streets tomorrow and show the decrepit government that the good people of our nation cannot tolerate the self-serving incompetence any longer. It is time for change."

Georgia has parliamentary and Presidential elections slated for 2012 and 2013 respectively. Nino Burjanadze claims that the country cannot wait any longer for a possible regime change and any elections held under President Saakashvili will not be democratic.

She said: "We have to stop the rot as soon as possible. President Saakashvilli and his government have duped the West with the pretence of running a democratic government. This facade is in fact a dictatorial regime where freedom of speech is stifled, justice is skewed and a chosen few are busy lining their own pockets.

"We need to get to the ballot boxes urgently, have fair and free elections scrutinised by independent observers and move forward.

"But the regime is running scared. Although tomorrow's planned demonstrations in Tbilisi and Batumi will be peaceful rallies, the authorities are arresting bus drivers, closing roads and controlling railway stations to stymie the travel plans of thousands of people who want to take to the streets to air their concerns, speak openly and rub shoulders with like-minded people who want change for the good.

"We know we have enough supporters throughout the country who share our values and want to demonstrate tomorrow - and I'd put that figure as high as 100,000 - but with President Saakashvilli's government once more determined to flex its muscle and suppress free speech with its blocking tactics that number may well reduce.

"But we will not be downhearted as tomorrow's rallies are part of an on-going process towards change; a change that I believe is wanted desperately by the Georgian people and one that will prevail.

"Put simply, our country is on its knees and all but a selfish minority cannot enjoy their lives. In the modern era that is utterly unacceptable and through the ballot box we can make a difference, but it has to be sooner rather than later."